Sporting champions young and old have been named heroes of the community in this year’s sports personalities for 2024.

Havering Sports council's annual awards are a highlight of the borough's sporting year, and were held on Monday (February 5) evening at Upminster Golf Club.

Diving coach John Whitby hosted the event for the 27th consecutive year, presenting eight prestigious awards.

Schoolgirl Hope McSheffrey was named Havering’s Junior Sports Competitor of the Year.

The 16-year-old from Hornchurch forged her reputation as a goalkeeper during eight years with Tigers Junior FC, at one time the only girl in her team and in the league.

The Sacred Heart secondary pupil played at Noak Hill Girls’ development club before joining Arsenal’s under-16 team.

She only picked the ball out of the net four times in a prestigious FA Youth Cup season.

Hope made the national squad in 2022 and gained international recognition last year with five caps at under-16 level. Her under-17 international debut was against Germany in September, then being selected for the European Championships in Hungary in November. She is now under contract for Arsenal’s under 21 squad. 

Sports Competitor of the Year was Peter Brinton-Quinn, with his season’s first javelin gold at the Essex County Championships in May and a month later defending his South of England title — then adding an England under-23 silver to his growing collection. 

Peter took another silver in the England Senior Championships at Chelmsford in July, a winner in all appearances for Havering Athletics in three National League fixtures. His award was in memory of the late Havering councillor Denis Breading, who died last summer in Romford aged 73, presented by his widow Mary Breading.

Disability Sports Competitor of the Year was Olly Beadle, a 24-year-old with dyspraxia and autism who has played tennis since the age of seven.

He trains five times a week at Upminster’s Cranston Park club and at the Brentwood club as a member of Lawn Tennis Association’s national learning disability squad.

Olly was picked for the inaugural Learning Disability Australian Open and returned home with a bronze in the men’s singles. This followed his gold doubles medal last March at a regional event in Gosling and another gold a month later in the singles at Pershore. He then made his debut on grass at Wimbledon in a learning disability tournament in August, winning on a tie-break against the player ranked number 2 in the world.

Sports Volunteer of the Year was Trevor Wells, who has been involved with Havering Athletic Club since 1990. The former international qualified as a jumps coach and has coached many in his footsteps over the years, including his son who has competed for Great Britain. Trevor currently coaches senior athletes who compete for Havering AC in the National and Southern Leagues and in national and international events.

Sports Team of the Year was Romford Golf Club cadets, who are the top youth club in Essex, boasting a 42-strong squad aged eight to 18. Several members have represented Essex under 14s and under 16s in county teams. One even made it to the final rounds of the British Open. Their youth scratch team won the Essex County Youth Shield for a second successive year. 

Senior School Team of the Year was Redden Court under-13 football team. The team has had a run towards victory in the England Schools Cup, Havering Cup and the Essex Cup. They played 24 games in 2023, winning 23 and losing just one — and that was on penalties. Their win ratio in 2023 was 95.8 per cent, with 86 goals and only conceding 16. 

Primary School Team of the Year was Gidea Park Primary’s Year 5/6 girls football, who started their season with a 12-0 friendly win. They won the Havering Cup to be named under-11 champs and represented Havering in the London Youth Games.

The Peter Bruce Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, in memory of Havering Sports Council founder and president Peter Bruce, was shared between two joint winners this year. 

Terry Fisher has been a committed volunteer at Hornchurch FC for 23 years as facilities manager, acknowledged as the ‘heartbeat’ of Hornchurch Stadium. He prepares the ground on match days and clears up afterwards, in sun, rain, wind and even storms, tidying-up, emptying litter bins and sweeping out changing rooms.

He shared this year's title with Jill Wright, who has clocked up 40 years' membership of Upminster Hockey Club. She manages matches for seven women’s teams every week, planning fixtures and producing an annual fixtures booklet. 

She has also umpired for the past 20 years and is currently officiating at Olympic Park youth tournaments. Now in her 70th year and still playing in goal for one of her club's teams, Jill frequently plays in a match herself, then quickly travels to another venue to umpire later the same day.